Encourage Good Employees to Go the Extra Mile
You are fortunate to have some stellar employees who always produce exemplary work in the time frame set before them, but you need to ask them to put in a little extra time and effort for a while. On the other hand, perhaps you have a handful of staff members whose work is always decent, but you know that if you could only motivate them to exert a little more effort their performance would be amazing. How can you cultivate a good team to make it a great one?
Rather than taking a negative approach and stating that they are not giving enough or working quickly enough, challenge these employees to set some lofty goals. Assure them that you have complete faith in them as individuals and as a team. Let them know that you would not ask them to reach higher if you did not believe they were up to the task.
In addition, it is vital that these goals are attainable and measurable. Telling your team what a great job they are doing and then simply asking for "more" is neither realistic nor beneficial. Allow them to focus on one or two specific objectives within a certain time frame. Maintain motivation by spotting and commenting on accomplishments along the way, and acknowledge goals successfully met in a big way.
Take the time to recognize employees individually, as well. Meet one on one with those that you wish to encourage, naming specific skills, talents and achievements of each team member. Making it personal helps employees feel as though they truly matter and that you see them for who they are, not as simply a job title.
Finally, make sure that you arm your staff with the tools they need to undertake the tasks at hand. Even the strongest fighter needs training, proper nourishment and a good pair of gloves before stepping into the ring. All of the positive reinforcement in the world will not matter if you don't provide the necessary instruments for the job.